Moneylife Events
Life Exclusive
How Sindhutai converted every adversity into an achievement
On international women's day Sindhutai Sapkal inspired a packed hall with poignant episodes narrated with great wit and energy
 
"A mother can never be defeated. A woman can never be defeated. But she needs to keep her heart strong and learn to forgive," says Sindhutai Sapkal, the social reformer and Mai (mother) to over 1,050 orphans. She was speaking at the International Women's Day celebrations organised by Moneylife Foundation with support from Magarpatta City and Symbiosis International University in Pune.
 
Sindhutai's story is one of incredible grit and determination to fight adversity. At the age of 20, when she was nine months pregnant, she was kicked, beaten and left to die in a cowshed. Her daughter was born in that semi-conscious stage and she cut the umbilical cord herself and went away with her daughter to try and stay alive.  The beauty of Sindutai Sapkal's life story is that she went on to build multiple orphanages and nurture over 1,000 children and give shelter to innumerable women, who are destitute and abandoned. 
 
She shared her experiences about her struggle in a unique style with song and laughter and lessons of life, without trivialising the tragic and humiliating experiences she faced. She said, "Several times I tried to commit suicide. But everytime something, maybe the unknown power, saved me. And everytime I decided to live for others who are dying". She said...
 

	
कफ़न को जेब नहीं होती
और मौत कभी रिश्वत नहीं लेती
 

Sindhutai also shared her experience of giving up her own daughter to an orphanage so that she could remain fair to all the other orphans she adopted over the years. What shines through in her talk is her indomitable spirit, extraordinary courage and  high intelligence, combined with street smarts. 
 
“I have experienced what it feels like to have no one with you, no place to go, no shelter and no food to eat for days. My small work makes me feel like someone is helping me heal my own wounds. So all wonds heal with time, but you must live, stay alive for others” she says...
 
"जीवनाची प्रेतयात्रा थांबली जेंव्हा स्मशानी, घेतला काढून खांदा ओळखीच्या माणसानी"
 
Talking about healed wounds, Sindhutai said, "Few years back, at the age of around 80, my husband came back to me apologetically. I told him I could accept him only as my child and not as a wife. Because, a woman is wife for some time, but is mother at all the time. Now, I tell my other children that they should thank this oldest child for having me as their Mai."
 
The children who Mai or Sindhutai has nurtured are proud to carry her name as their middle and last name. So, all boys use Sapkal while girls use Sathe (Sindhutai's maiden surname) as their surnames. She told the story of Vinay Sindhutai Sapkal, who she rescued from the arms of a dead mother, when he was a few days old. He is now a qualified advocate, but prefers to assist her and help run the orphanages and accompany her on her talks.
 
When asked about how she gets orphans admitted into her orphanages, Sindhutai said, "After my speeches at various places, local people bring to me children without parents or an immediate family. After taking a signed letter from the local district administration, we usually admit such child into our orphanage."
 
A gifted orator, Sindhutai, with her singing, using quotes from poet-saints Tukaram, Namdeo, Bahinabai, Gadgebaba and Tukdoji Maharaj as well as poet Suresh Bhat and switching easily between Hindi and Marathi with ease hold the audience to rapt attention, laughing and clapping one moment and wiping tears of anguish at another. 
 
"However," she said, "despite all the awards (750 and more) and travelling across regions and even to the US, I am still a begger (none of her orphanages receive any grant from the government). Earlier my singing used to provide me with food. Today it is my speeches that gives us food. पहले गाना था तो खाना मिलता था, अब भाषण है तो राशन है."
 
Earlier, Sindhutai felicitated two winners of Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust's awards for 2016. Majhi Maitrin's Savitribai Phule Award 2016 was be given to Tejaswi Sevekari, Director of Saheli Sangh, a community organisation working for the welfare of sex workers and Pandita Ramabai Award to Sangli-based Women's Education Society.
 
Every year, Moneylife Foundation felicitate two women activists for their extra ordinary work for woman empowerment. However, this year, we decided to collaborate with Majhi Maitrin, for felicitating two awardees, says Sucheta Dalal, Founder-Trustee of Moneylife Foundation.
 
She also pointed out that International Women's Day is increasingly becoming a "Fair and Lovely" event, which is all about glamour and far removed from the original idea of recognising women's struggles for equality. Very few organisations are willing to support serious events to mark this day and we were fortunate that Magarpatty City, Bank of Maharashtra and Symbiosis International University shared these ideals and supported the idea. 
 
Sindhutai's life is truly inspirational. She fought abject childhood poverty and ill-treatment to set up several orphanages. She has nurtured over 1,050 orphans and fought for the rights of the poor and disadvantaged. Her life story has been captured in a biopic - 'Mee Sindhutai Sapkal' and her extraordinary work has been recognised with hundreds of awards.
 
Sindhutai runs four homes for orphans and others in need across Maharashtra.  
 
Today, her grand family comprises 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1,000 grandchildren. Many of them are well-educated lawyers and doctors, and some, including her biological daughter, are running their own independent orphanages.
 
Well-known anchor and presenter Sudhir Gadgil did compering of the program.
 
This program was organised with support from Bank of Maharashtra (as Silver Sponsor), Softcell Technologies (Technology Partner), Symbiosis International University, Majhi Maitrin Charitable Trust, Corporate Citizen (Media Partner) and Sadhu Vaswani Institute of Management Studies for Girls.
 
Here are contact details for Sindhutai Sapkal...
 
Sanmati Bal Niketan Sanstha Belhekar Vasti, Near Vasantadada Sugar Institute, Manjari (Budruk) Taluka- Haveli, Dist.- Pune, PIN - 412307 Tel: 020-26999541
Email: SanmatiBalNiketan2001@gmail.com
 
Here are bank details, if you want to donate...
A/c Name: Sanmati Bal Niketan A/c Type: Savings A/c No: 102104000077288 Bank Name: IDBI Bank, Hadapsar Branch, Pune IFSC: IBKL0000102
Email: SanmatiBalNiketan2001@gmail.com (You can send an email giving details of your donation to Sanmati Bal Niketan)
 

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COMMENTS

J Pinto

2 years ago

The harvest is rich but the labourers are few

May God give the same strength wit and positive attitude to many more labourers.

Mahesh S Bhatt

2 years ago

They make very very less WO-MEN of these kinds.

MAA Tujhe aur Tere Pyar aur Dular bhale Dil ko Koti Koti Pranam.

Vande Sindhutai May strengthen you to handle many many more orphans.

Mahesh Bhatt

Prakash Patel

2 years ago

Please upload the video of this program if available for the sake of those who could not attend

Rajendra Ganatra

2 years ago

Fantastic story of grit. I would have loved to attend the function but had to be in Chandigarh! I will visit her someday to understand how she brings sunshine to the disadvantaged! Hats off to her spirit!

Please share the details of Sindhutai's organization so that I can make some contribution.

Sadanand Patwardhan

2 years ago

>>>
Today, her grand family comprises 207 son-in-laws, 36 daughter-in-laws and over 1,000 grandchildren.
<<<
These figures are a telling commentary on the bias against GIRL child in our society [majority Hindu], which has given great soul Sindhutai almost 6 times more SIL than DIL.

Mahesh S Bhatt

2 years ago

Maa Tujhe Salaam Sindhu Aai/Mai/Tai/Sai.

Great comedy of Responsible people taking more responsibility than they are suppossed to take based of traditional Management Roles.

But these great souls go beyond the call of duty( which is thrusted) & act voluntarily & willfully for betterment of Humanity to become Goodly First & Godly soon.

A great evolution for Human to become Godly & Giving achiving ultimate KARMIC Excellence without expectaions of Fruits of Work,with total devotion/surrender forgiveness/seva( Servant Leadership).

Other end our elected MP/MLA/MLC's busy collecting corrupt money thorugh newer schemes & belittling the official position of office.

Failing themselves/supported by Party Leaders/Judiciary/Government & their own souls.God also cannot bless/save them how shall electorate.

Another eg is Kailash Satyarthi.God Bless

Good Work Money Life and team.Kudos to Sucheta Dalal/Debashis Basu Leaders

Mahesh Bhatt

Chavi Hemanth

2 years ago

we often just keep thinking. All of us including me should try to give back to society.

The is a live example of when u got to do u just do it .

mariyam khatib

2 years ago

My family really salutes you Maa with a big salam Peace.

Mohd.Tahir Sayed

2 years ago

IT was an emotionally charged programme with Sindhutai managing to lighten the horror of her life experiences with humour and an engaging style.
Thank you Moneylife for organising this event.
ISHRAT TAHIR SAYED.

S.S.A.Zaidi

2 years ago

Wow---I salute this MA (MOTHER)

Pramod Bhave

2 years ago

It was an inspiring program. Thanks to Moneylife Foundation for holding the event in Pune.

Deciphering Annual Reports
The Moneylife columnist teaches investors how to get behind the numbers
 
R Balakrishnan, a columnist with Moneylife, gave valuable insights into reading annual reports, from an investor’s perspective, in the second Investor Club event conducted by Moneylife Smart Savers Network (MSSN). With four decades of experience in financial markets, he guided the audience, right from understanding the basics of financial statements, to digging deeper into issues, like capitalisation of the interest cost and detecting the red flags. Finance can be boring for many; but not when the speaker has wit and humour in his presentation. Mr Balakrishnan had many funny quips about annual reports. 
 
Annual reports can be bulky, sometimes running into more than 200 pages. Mr Balakrishnan highlighted the importance of examining a few critical ratios. He explained that return on equity (RoE) and return on capital employed (RoCE) are the most important ratios, while evaluating companies. This is because companies need to earn more than the cost of funds; otherwise, they are not adding any value. Speaking of debt, he remarked, “New companies will start with debt. Over time, they should become debt-free.” Highlighting the importance of analysing cash-flows, he called cash-flows the single most important source of finding problem areas. 
 
Taking up the case study of Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) and Inox Wind, he explained the method to analyse stocks, diligently going through different calculations. Explaining the business model of Inox Wind, he took the audience through the detailed Excel sheets. 
 
The session, sponsored by Bombay Stock Exchange and Kotak Securities, ended with a comprehensive question & answer session. The questions from the audience covered a wide gamut of issues ranging from macroeconomics to company-specific issues.

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COMMENTS

MK

2 years ago

Would be great if you could upload the video for the benefit of people who were unable to attend.

Don't break law, bend it for helping citizens, says Dr RC Sinha

Dr Sinha, Advisor to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways, while speaking at Moneylife Foundation’s 6th Anniversary said, while finding out a way in the system, an official may have to take flak from vested interests

 

“Do not break law, but you can bend it and if you do not have any malafide then the government will not take any action against you,” was the advice given by Dr RC Sinha to government officials. He was speaking at Moneylife Foundation's 6th Anniversary in Mumbai on Saturday.
 
Dr Sinha, Advisor to the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways and Ministry of Shipping and former Additional Chief Secretary of Maharashtra said, “You have to get out tactfully from difficult situations. Within the system, we as government employees can do good for public provided we are ready to take risk from those with vested interests.”
 
Dr Sinha is man who turned around Navi Mumbai, built over 40 flyovers in Mumbai, the Mumbai-Pune Expressway, planned the Cybercity and 30 projects in Hyderabad, MIHAN project in Nagpur and several similarly important projects.
 
Dr Praveen Gedam, the keynote speaker at the event and Municipal Commissioner at Nashik, has used technology for better governance, while tackling entrenched corruption in each of his jobs. While there are several measures undertaken by the physician-turned-IAS to help the administration to improve services and provide relief to citizens and resolve their issues faster, Dr Gedam cited four specific examples. One was how he devised a strategy and camp up with sand mining approval and tracking system (SMAT) to curb illegal sand mining. Using the same monitoring and online reporting system, he put a brake on loot at the famous Tuljabhavani temple. He also spoke about the efforts taken by the administration for a smooth and incident free Kumbh Mela at Nashik and new apps launched to provide complete information to citizens and also help them file complaints and get it resolved in transparent manner.
 
Curbing illegal sand mining in Solapur district
The Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has come out with new guidelines on sand mining, which are largely based on a model developed and implemented by Dr Gedam, while serving as District Collector at Solapur in Maharashtra.
 

Solapur has always been notorious for the illegal sand mining and mafia gangs that operate without fear due to support from politicians. When Dr Gedam took over as District Collector of Solapur in January 2013, he too faced stiff opposition from the sand mafia gangs. Illegal sand mining was rampant in Solapur district as sand excavation was happening from sand beds that were not part of any auction. Once sand was mined illegally over and above the permitted quantity, the sand miners used to even produce forged receipts. The same forged receipts were also used multiple times, Dr Gedam said.

 
The Solapur district administration under the guidance from Dr Gedam came out with a plan for e-tendering, e-auction and digital monitoring for sand mining. The administration set up control rooms at sand ghats on the only access road. All other access roads to sand ghats were closed. The administration also brought in SMS-based transport permits, developed new online software, mahamining.com for multi-layered tracking on sand mining and also installed closed circuit television (CCTV) cameras at several places. The whole system was known as sand mining approval and tracking system (SMAT).
 
The results of this e-governance initiative were astounding. With these measures, the Solapur district administration increased its income to Rs78 crore (in FY2013-14) from a mere Rs22 crore (in FY2012-13) by e-auctioning, increased collection of fines and fool-proof monitoring of sand mining through SMAT. These efforts from district administration also saw about 425 first information reports (FIRs) filed against the illegal cartels of sand mafias in FY2013-14 alone.
 
Plugging the loot at the famous Tuljabhavani temple
Dr Gedam, while serving as District Collector at Osmanabad, not only plugged the loot at Tuljabhavani temple at Tuljapur but also helped the temple to obtain an ISO certificate in the clean-up process. After he sensed that donations were pilfered on a massive scale, Dr Gedam used multiple direct and indirect methods at the famous temple, which led to astounding results. The income of the temple, which was hovering around Rs7 crore a year, some five to seven kgs of gold and 40-45 kgs of silver, jumped four times to Rs24 crore, excluding gold and silver donations.
 
In order to make the pilgrimage of people to Tuljabhavani temple easy and less troublesome, Dr Gedam improved physical amenities including a modern darshan mandap, built three modern bhakt niwas (lodging) using traditional designs, developed gardens and improved roads. He started or completed several works in Tuljapur that enhanced facilities and amenities of the Tuljabhavani.
 
"Tuljapur gets millions of tourists every year. The entire local economy revolves round it. It relates to livelihood as well. Better civic amenities and recreation was needed there. As government appointed trustee of the Tuljabhavani Temple Trust, we tried our bit to improve amenities in and around the temple," is what the humble but determined IAS officer has to say.
 

As the District Collector of Osmanabad, Dr Gedam was ex-officio Chairman of the Shree Tulja Bhavani Temple Trust. Due to the efforts of Dr Gedam and his team, the temple received ISO certification, a first for a religious shrine in Maharashtra. The certificate was issued taking into account the temple's transparent administration, dress code, cleanliness and other matters.
 
Last year in August, a museum conceptualised and whose construction started by Dr Gedam, was completed. This museum will have exquisitely carved silver idol of Goddess Tuljabhavani weighing about 200 kgs donated by one devotee, about 2kgs of gold ornaments as well as replicas of antique and historic documents and articles.
 
The Kumbh Mela
Every 12 years, Nashik witnesses influx of millions of people, including devotees and sadhus. Apart from building, modifying infrastructure, what withstood in last year’s Kumbh at Nashik was the effective use of technology. Be it the use of drones with cameras to control and manage crowds or cloud computing or a system to monitor threat of epidemics and a mobile app that gave information on hospitals, hotels in the city, trains and bus services available as well as information on nearest pilgrim spots like Shirdi and Bhimashankar.
 
For the two-month long Kumbh Mela, the state government had sanctioned a budget of about Rs2,200 crore including Rs1,200 crore buy the Nashik Municipal Corp. Dr Gedam said, “We (NMS) built a 26-kms long underground drainage and a 40kms long water supply line to the Sadhugram, the temporary township created for sadhus. It could accommodate around 3 lakh sadhus. We also increased number of ghats to seven from two.”
 
‘Smart Nashik’ app
Last year in September, the Nashik Municipal Corp launched an interactive mobile app aimed at bringing in transparency and providing facility to citizens. Talking about the idea behind launching the mobile app, Dr Gedam, said, “With the mobile app, citizens can participate in the work of the corporation, give suggestions, register complaints and use the facility on online payment of bills, register births or death, seek building plan approval, all aimed at clean, efficient and transparent working of the corporation.”
 
His emphasis is on increased use of technology for providing civic services as well as brining transparency in all transactions. This is the reason, why all details about a civil work in Nashik, including name of the contractor, value, defect liability period as well as actual photos before, during and after the work are made available online. “If this is not done, we do not pass the contractors’ bills for payment. Not a single rupee in Nashik is spent unknown to the public,” he added.

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COMMENTS

Meenal Mamdani

2 years ago

Thanks ML Foundation for giving a platform to speakers who inspire others with their exemplary work.

Nothing inspires like concrete examples of improved governance and these stories also reduce cynicism and increase trust in govt, which India sorely needs.

I can see from the photos accompanying this article that the auditorium was full to capacity. Hope that some among them will follow in the footsteps of these two great public officials.

R Balakrishnan

2 years ago

Fantastic people, both. Truly inspirational. Thank you, Moneylife Foundation for letting us get to hear them and find out that there are some great Indians around.

REPLY

Shirish Sadanand Shanbhag

In Reply to R Balakrishnan 2 years ago

I fully agree with R. Balkrishnan.

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